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Alzheimer’s disease will prove “the most unmitigated disaster” if radical new drugs now in the pipeline fail to work, according to a leading psychiatrist.
Said Professor Simon Lovestone, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London: “In the next five or 10 years there is a good chance of having treatments that slow down the rate of progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
“But if they fail, we are heading for the most unmitigated disaster. We need these drugs to work,” he told the Alzheimer’s Research Trust’s annual meeting at the Royal Institution.
He was referring to 11 medicines now in late-stage clinical trials that target key biological pathways instead of simply reducing symptoms while large parts of the brain are destroyed.
The new drugs target enzymes involved in the production of destructive amyloid deposits and tangles of “tau” proteins inside neurons, both of which are associated with the disease.
Meanwhile, Professor John Harwood, from the University of Cardiff, is to stress the protective effect of fish oil. He will say that a significant intake may reduce by half the chance of developing the disease.
Copyright Press Association 2009